I, like millions of people, have found myself feeling devastated over what happened last week. It is impossibly hard to turn on the news, I can’t open the newspaper and I keep crying spontaneously. Nevertheless, sometimes that is both all right and appropriate; in the case of Sandy Hook, in fact, it makes complete sense. Sometimes, no matter how much we need to smile, it just isn’t quite time to do so yet, and Saturday’s episode introduction of Saturday Night Live reminded me that sometimes, we need to be sad and feel it fully.
Two nights ago, the show opened not with its typical fanfare of a sarcastic host and a funny set of lines, but with something far more beautiful: the New York City Children’s Chorus arrived to sing a both somber and incredibly stunning version of “Silent Night.” As I type this and watch it again, I have tears streaming down my cheeks.
As a fairly recent member of, um, “the media” (it still feels weird to call myself that), I have not yet had to respond to tragedy in a public manner. I have been outraged at isolated incidents and upset at overall concepts, but never quite so devastated as this one single hour of one single day. Fortunately, I think that this little a capella version can express that emotion better for me in place of any words.
The group returned later to sing with Paul McCartney on “Wonderful Christmas Tree” (talk about starting a musical career on the right foot, eh?), and to remind us once more that even in the face of everything going wrong and even with all the adults yelling at one another, blaming each other for what’s happened, the voices of children are so important to pay attention to in order to heal the hole in our hearts.